Monday, November 28, 2022

Biden talks hard on Iran as he embarks on Middle East tour

Biden talks hard on Iran as he embarks on Middle East tour

President Joe Biden began his first visit to the Middle East since taking office on Wednesday, offering worried Israeli leaders strong reassurance of his determination to halt Iran’s growing nuclear program, saying he was “a last resort”. “As ready to use force.

The president’s remarks came in an interview with Israel’s Channel 12, which was taped before leaving Washington and aired on Wednesday, with the country’s political leaders welcoming him with a red carpet arrival ceremony at Tel Aviv airport. did.

“Worse than Iran that exists now is Iran with nuclear weapons,” Biden said. Asked about the use of military force against Iran, Biden said, “If that was the last resort, then yes.”

Citing its nuclear program, Israel’s calls for destruction, and support for hostile terrorist groups across the region, US ally Israel regards Iran as its greatest enemy.

The US and Israel are expected to unveil a joint declaration on Thursday that will strengthen their close military ties and reinforce previous calls for military action to halt Iran’s nuclear program. Before Biden’s arrival, a senior Israeli official said the two countries would commit to “using all elements of their national power against the Iranian nuclear threat.” The official spoke on condition of anonymity until an official statement was released.

Marking Biden’s arrival, Israeli leaders made it clear that Iran’s nuclear program was the top item on their agenda.

“We will discuss the need to renew a strong global coalition that will halt the Iranian nuclear program,” Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said while greeting the Democratic president at an airport ceremony in Tel Aviv.

Biden said he would not remove Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from the list of US terrorist organizations, even if it prevents Iran from re-joining the Iran nuclear deal.

Sanctions on the IRGC, which has carried out regional attacks, have been a key point in negotiations to bring Iran back in compliance with an agreement to prevent Iran from possessing nuclear weapons. Iran announced last week that it had enriched uranium to 60% purity, a technological step away from weapons-grade quality.

Iran insists that its program is for peaceful purposes, although UN experts and Western intelligence agencies say Iran had an organized military nuclear program as far back as 2003.

Biden revived the Iran nuclear deal, brokered by Barack Obama in 2015 and abandoned by Donald Trump in 2018, a major priority as he entered office. Biden said Trump made a “big mistake” by pulling the US out of the Iran nuclear deal.

“There are people who thought that with the previous administration we moved away from the Middle East, that we were going to create a void that China and Russia would fill, and we cannot let that happen,” he said.

But indirect talks for the US to rejoin the deal have stalled as Iran has made rapid gains in developing its nuclear program. That left the Biden administration pessimistic about reneging on the deal, which imposed significant sanctions on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

The Israelis seemed determined to underscore the imminent threat from Iran. Soon after his arrival, Biden was briefed about the country’s “Iron Dome” and new “Iron Beam” missile defense systems.

This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

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